Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Aviator

Pam, Elise and I had a great experience the other day, thanks to our friend Rob from Seattle. Rob is a fellow we met through friends at Smith Rock, Oregon. He owns a small house near the climbing and let us stay in it this spring. To reciprocate, I offered to take he and his friends up the Chief this past weekend. Rob flew to Squamish (he owns a few small planes) and offered to take us on a scenic flight as a thank-you for the climb. How could we say no?

We met Rob at the Squamish airport at 8:30am and got a flight briefing/safety tour. We wondered how Elise would handle the experience, but since she's normally so easy going, we didnt' worry too much. We got settled into the little airplane and off we went. Elise was fine and we all enjoyed over an hour of flying. We followed Howe Sound south toward Vancouver, then headed west to Powell River. We stopped for fuel and a break and then retraced our route to Squamish, finishing with a short tour of Whistler. Rob even let me fly the plane at one point!

The winds had picked up when we returned to Squamish so the landing was a little nerve-wracking. Rob is a flight instructor, so we knew we were in good hands, despite the small plane buffetting back and forth as we approached the tarmac. I'd be lying if I said my hands weren't sweating as we screeched to a halt. We had a great time and are indebted to Rob for an outstanding experience. Here are a bunch of pictures. Click on them for larger images:

The three of us at the Squamish airport.

Elise poses in front of Rob's plane.

We all had to wear headsets because it's incredibley noisy in the small plane once it's airborne. Elise figured out she could hear herself talking in the microphone and this led to a lot of annoying chatter.

Our pilot, Rob Price.

It certainly didn't look like the dashboard of our Dodge. There were controls on either side so the plane could be flown by two different people.

This is a view of some cliffs that lie above Howe Sound, just across from the Chief.

The old mine at Britannia Beach as seen from the air.

The Chief, as viewed from above Howe Sound.

Someone got tired and fell asleep...

Pam and Elise at the Powell River airport.

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